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Beauty of the Dark: An Interview with Jaqueline Vanek

Posted by J Meyers on


Detail of "The Ancient Sages" by Jaqueline Vanek, All images courtesy the Artist

Thank you for taking the time to speak with Dark Art & Craft we have admired your photographic work for some time! Can you tell us a little more about yourself and your current location in Madrid, Spain?

Many thanks to you, you do a wonderful job publishing the most interesting artists! My name is Jaqueline Vanek, I was born in Austria and yes, I currently live in Madrid. I am a professional photographer, with more than 15 years of experience in the field, and a visual artist. My work is mainly focused on artistic photography with a sensual, dark but sophisticated self-portrait theme; photomontage and landscape photography.

My creative studies began in 2003 led to Sculpture as a Senior Technician in Fine Arts, Casting and Moulding. In 2005 I became involved into the magical world of Photography ending three years later as a Senior Technician in Fine Arts and Artistic Photography and with an MA Degree in Digital Fashion, Portrait and Advertising Photography. At the end of 2011, I began my studies in Design with a MA Degree in Graphic Design, Web Communication and Art Direction; specializing later in the field of UX and UI Design. Currently, in January 2021, I have started to expand my knowledge by starting to study “Expert in Cultural Management - Direction and Management of Galleries and New Cultural Spaces”.

What to tell you about Madrid, I have lived here since 2007, for more than 10 years. I came at the time to study the "MA Degree in Graphic Design, Web Communication and Art Direction" and stayed here. The years have passed without realizing it. It is a place with a lot of culture, I like that, although I admit that I miss the Austrian landscapes and certain customs.

Does your location in Spain impact your output and Art compared to your time/location in Austria?

I think that my current location affects me in not being able to take the landscapes and photographic backgrounds that I would like. Whenever I can, I take advantage of my vacations to travel further to the north of Europe. I love open, cold, white landscapes... the ones that can be found in Sweden, Norway, Iceland. I also love the mountainous landscapes of my homeland, Austria. It is true that Spain also has many spectacular landscapes, but they are not the ones that I feel most represented by, they don't attract my attention like others. I guess if I liked the beach I would be a lucky person living in Spain hehe. 

However, on the other hand, I have something living in Madrid that I would not have in my birthplace in Austria (Villach): many exhibitions and more professional opportunities. There is also a lot of culture in Vienna, it is a beautiful city and I love getting lost in its museums, but I have not lived in Vienna. I have only always been visiting the city, so I do not know how the job market is there.

exposure by Jaqueline Vanek


Jaqueline Vanek Dark Art & Craft Printed works

How has the last year or more affected your Art or life, many of the Artists we feature have been struggling while our respective governments respond to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Last year has been, as we all know, a very difficult year in many ways. Things here in Madrid are already somewhat better, but we have not yet overcome the pandemic. We continue with many affected, both health and economic, and with many limitations. Once the pandemic is overcome, an economic crisis will follow, the situation will take many years to recover.

On a personal level, I can say that I have been one of the lucky people. I have not been affected health or financially. Neither I nor anyone in my environment has contracted Covid-19, no one of my acquaintances or my family has been sick or has died. My professional life has been limited to teleworking without a reduction in working hours or wages. I really miss traveling, traveling to see my family since they don't live in Madrid. I miss going to concerts and going out for a drink without fear of contagion or restrictions. I had a hard time during the most difficult times when we had to be locked up at home without being able even to go out for a walk. All that time I spent alone and it was complicated. However, it led me to create many photographs, I had not created that much in years. I can say that the year 2020 was very good for me as an artist, I did a lot of new artworks and had many achievements thanks to giving a great boost to my work. I am talking about magazine publications, exhibitions, growth in social networks. I guess everything has its pros and cons!

What tools/mediums do you use to create Art? Does the computer or other modern methods play a role in your work?

I am a person who started creating art with my hands. Since I was little I have loved crafts. The other children from kindergarten or school went out to the garden to play, while I stayed like a lonely girl entertained with paints, colored cardboard, glue and scissors. I was more interested in creating than going out to play with a ball hahaha. There are those who would have called me an antisocial child, thank goodness that nobody noticed in a bad way and turned me away from it. Likewise, I have always been a more reserved person, closed in my world. I suppose that also makes me who I am and the works that I create.

Obviously, I have gotten older, I am no longer a girl with colored pencils in my hands, I have evolved and I have known other new tools of expression. Few know it, but before I started studying photography in 2003, I studied a creative branch related to sculpture, earning a Senior Technician in Fine Arts, Casting and Molding degree. Unfortunately, there were many materials in the field of sculpture that created me allergies with skin reactions. It's okay if I work with these materials from time to time, but on a day-to-day basis it creates some pretty unpleasant itches.

Today I work mainly with the computer. My means of work are cameras, studio lights, a computer with a huge monitor and a graphic tablet. Modern methods and media definitely play a major role in my current work.

The evolution of an Artist is always one our readers like to know about. Can you describe a little bit about how you evolved into the creator/Artist that you are today?

I suppose that I have partly answered this question before. As I have commented, I have gone through different expression tools until I found the one that eases creation and the one that makes me express myself the best. But, more than the tools, my own life, my experiences, has made me evolve as an artist. One's experiences make us who we are and therefore make us create the things we create. Good and bad experiences, trips to places around the world, the people you get to know... the feelings we experience, all of this makes us evolve. In my case there are many things that have marked me, I am a very sensitive person although I appear to be tough.

The Ancient Sages by vanek

Jaqueline Vanek Dark Art & Craft Printed works

The Ancient Sages

How does the occult, Magick, Dark Art or the macabre relate to your work (If it does)?

For my photographic creations I don't usually get inspired by the macabre, but I have been inspired, for example in my photomontage series "The Ancient Sages", in legends, mythology, ghosts. I think that in general my photographic style tends to be somewhat dark, I usually call it "dark but sophisticated".

On the other hand, mention that besides working as photographer and designer, I have an alternative clothing brand called "Obnubil", where practically all the designs are inspired by the occult, magic... or as the introduction itself on the brand's website says: “Inspired by the occult, the beauty of the dark, of the forbidden, of rare and persecuted. Molded in Blackness.”

What past Artists of any medium have inspired your current output?

Honestly, I don’t have concrete people who inspire me today for what my current personal work is. I like to visit at least 2 or 3 exhibitions a week, discover artists in general and see new works of all possible styles. More than artists in the field of photography, painting, design, etc... currently music inspires me a lot. There are many songs that inspire me to create images, songs of bands within the style of Post-Metal, Death, Black, Ambient… what people usually call darker music. If you asked me to have to mention the last two bands that have inspired me to create something I would say “Amenra” and “Cult of Luna”.

Of course I have had artists in the past that have motivated me to create in general. When I started studying photography in 2005, my favorite artists were Joel Peter Witkin, Jan Saudek, Shana and Robert ParkeHarrison, Hans Bellmer, etc. I’ve always been attracted to the unusual, the “not too accepted” by general society, to the dark and the surreal. Surrealism has always been one of the cultural movements that have caught my attention the most. Although I also love the symbolism movement, I must clearly mention here Austrian Symbolist painter Gustav Klimt. But boy, I like a lot of artistic movements, better not ask me, I would not stop talking.

Delicate Fragments

Delicate Fragments 

We always ask people for three contemporary Artists you want everyone to check out right now. What are your recommendations to our audience?

That is really a very complicated question, there are many artists today that deserve to be mentioned. I will try to respond quickly and say... “Matt Lombard”, a great American dark artist with whom I recently had the opportunity to share a gallery in Illinois. “Michał Karcz”, a Polish artist based in Spain, I love its futuristic worlds. And finally, although my list is endless, to mention “Erik Johansson”, photographer and visual artist from Sweden based in Czech Republic, a great inspiration and reference.

Where can we find you online?!

On my website: www.jaquelinevanek.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jaquelinevanek

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/jaquelinevanekphotography

Behance: https://www.behance.net/jaquelinevanek

My clothing brand website: https://www.obnubil.com

J Meyers

@ Dark Art & Craft, print collector and Graphic Artist from Ohio, US.



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